Men’s basketball season ends after first round loss to Southern Utah

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KSU Athletics

Redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry makes a move to the basket during the Kent State men’s basketball team’s loss to Buffalo in Buffalo, New York on Friday, Jan. 21.

Jacob Hansen, Reporter

Kent State’s men’s basketball team’s historic season ended Wednesday in the first round of the the Basketball Classic after Southern Utah’s second half offensive surge secured a 83-79 win.

“[The Thunderbirds] are a good team,” head coach Rob Senderoff said. “We competed and gave ourselves a chance to win, just didn’t get a couple stops late when we needed to.”

The Flashes’ 2021-22 season ends after a historic 14-game win streak carried the team through the Mid-American Conference tournament but ended with a disappointing loss to Akron in the championship.

KSU ends the season with an overall record of 23-11.

It was a close first half, as Kent State went to the locker rooms up by one 35-34.

Redshirt junior guard Malique Jacobs took over in the first half, scoring 19 points. He made his first seven field-goal attempts and shot 3-of-3 from behind the arc.

KSU also played great defense, forcing nine turnovers in just the first half. KSU scored 17 points off those turnovers.

The Flashes had some trouble underneath, getting out-rebounded 19-12, where Southern Utah had 14 points in the paint.

Unfortunately for Kent State, Southern Utah couldn’t seem to miss in the second half.

Southern Utah shot 60 percent (15-25) and 57 percent (8-14) from three in the second half.

“We didn’t do as good of a job defensively,” Senderoff said. “They scored 80 plus points, so our defense wasn’t as good in the second half.”

Kent State stepped up in the paint in the second half, scoring 26 points with 19 rebounds.

Jacobs’ hot night continued in the second half, as he finished with a career-high 28 points, with three rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.

The Flashes were short handed tonight, missing redshirt sophomore guard Giovanni Santiago (illness) and redshirt senior forward Tervell Beck (personal reasons).

However, freshman guard Jalen Sullinger stepped up in the big moment, scoring 16 points with four three-pointers and three rebounds.

“He’s still got a lot of work to do in the offseason,” Senderoff said. “He has the ability to score, and he did that tonight and helped us out a great deal.”

The Flashes kept up on offense, shooting 46 percent (15-32) and 50 percent (4-8) from behind the arc. However, it was not enough to keep up with Southern Utah.

“We were the number two seed in the conference, 14 straight wins,” Senderoff said. “Obviously disappointing we are not playing in the NCAA tournament, disappointing game on Saturday, but I’m proud of the team, and I appreciate everyone that was involved with the program.”

Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]